We have all seen or experienced unhealthy romantic relationships, however, we are often less inclined to notice or consider whether the other relationships in our lives are happy and fulfilling. Friendships account for a huge part of our overall happiness in our social and emotional health, providing us with fun, entertainment and comfort in times of difficulty. But just like any other relationship, not all friendships are good for us. In fact some can become an overbearing, negative and destructive force in our lives.
What makes an unhealthy relationship?
A relationship becomes unhealthy when it creates an undue emotional and mental strain and involves us in negative environments or behaviours. Friendships formed out of dependency or co-dependency, particularly in times of depression or anxiety, can have negative consequences as individuals can become reliant on the constant companionship and support of a friend. It can leave friends feeling overburdened and responsible for problems that are not their own on top of their own personal issues. Remember that although it’s good to support our loved ones your needs and happiness in a relationship are important too. It may just take a conversation between you to discuss your feelings and reconsider boundaries in your relationship.
In some cases a friend may relish the dependant’s reliance and take on a dominating or controlling role in the relationship. Some friends, like a bad lover, just don’t treat you well and the relationship can turn toxic. Passive aggressive or straight out aggressive behaviours such as verbal abuse, negative talk, guilting and manipulation are often used by a ‘Toxic Friend’ to make you feel unworthy or behave how they desire.
It’s important to take time to reflect on the people we choose to surround ourselves with. Ask yourself some simple questions;
Do I still enjoy this person’s company?
Do I feel good about myself when I’m around them?
If a partner behaved this way would I think it acceptable?
If you find yourself emotionally drained, unhappy and poorly treated in a friendship and attempts to discuss your issues are unsuccessful, it’s time for you to distance yourself from this person. You deserve respect and satisfaction in all your relationships and letting go of negative influences will give you more room to let positive ones in.